Thursday, 25 June 2020

The Notebook Pages for The Challenge

A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

The Challenge is a Cerebus story that never got past the layouts and script format. That material was published in The Comic Buyer’s Guide #977, published August 7, 1992. From Dave’s introduction:
This is an unpublished Cerebus story which was commissioned by Comely Comix for The Captain Canuck Summer Special #2 (summer 1981). Comely went out of business shortly after approving the script and layouts for the story. A small blessing: his last letter suggested coloring Cerebus purple so that he would stand out in the color story! The last page of the script is missing but I have reconstructed it.
You can see the story – well, layouts and script – here at my site. I looked through Dave’s first Cerebus notebook, used in the create of issues #20 to 28, and found five notebook pages that have material for the seven-page story. Pages #113 – 117. The next page, 118, starts off material for Cerebus #25.

Looking at the notebook pages, Dave starts with a quick overview:

Notebook 1, page 113
Then puts down a page listing with what needs to happen on each page, and then starts in on some dialogue:

Notebook 1, page 114

Notebook 1, page 115

Notebook 1, page 116

Notebook 1, page 117
Not all of the dialogue is the same word for word, but the gist of it is what appears in the semi-finished story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like reading the old notebook scans.

And since I've nowhere else to post this, I found the first appearance of Joanne in a photo in the back of Cerebus 118! Also, the photo in the back of Cerebus #117 has a Glamourpuss-style description of Gerhard's outfit - can the future be found in the back of old Cerebus issues? lol